Performance Art From Behind the Iron Curtain


Published November 24, 2009, issue of November 27, 2009.

A new exhibit at The New York Public Library for the Performing Art — “Revolutionary Voices: Performing Arts in Central & Eastern Europe in the 1980s” — brings together a vast archive of documents that give texture and depth to the artistic climate of the Soviet Bloc in the 1980s.

From scripts covered in censors’ lines to original props from old productions, from posters and playbills to performance videos, the exhibition does its best to capture every nuance of the artistic atmosphere. “Seeing these performances and source materials dispels the myth that everything behind the Iron Curtain was dark and grey. In reality an exciting underground was flowering,” said Karen Burke, Assistant Chief of the Music Division and co-curator of the exhibition.

Opening twenty years after the beginning of Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution, “Revolutionary Voices” will be on view in the Vincent Astor Gallery from November 18, 2009 through March 20, 2010

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Nadja Spiegelman

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